We’ve all been there…it’s the middle of January and the gym is packed to the brim with people feeling guilty about that pesky holiday weight gain. But why not take a few preemptive steps to help stem this frustrating cycle?! Here are MY TOP TIPS to stay trim and slim during the holidays without ruining your time! (Because seriously, who can diet with all those goodies around!)
1. Don’t forget about liquid calories.
We all love a good eggnog or Christmas mulled wine, but don’t forget that these add calories to your diet as well. It’s easy to remember to count the calories in that big slice of pumpkin pie or that extra helping of marshmallow covered yams, but we often forget to count the liquid calories, so be mindful of these as well. If you have an extra glass of eggnog, perhaps skip that second slice of pie. I’m not saying you need to cut out these liquids entirely, but count them as calories just as you would the rest of the things that go in your mouth!
2. Pregame before your holiday meal.
We all remember those times growing up when you had to wait all day until the Christmas meal was ready. “No snacking!” said Mom. But this actually promotes over eating; so rather than starve yourself until it’s time to sit down for dinner, have some snacks beforehand. In fact, many experts advise that the best way to eat on a regular basis is to consume frequent small meals throughout the day, rather than three larger ones. This keeps your blood sugar at a more stable level which wards off hunger, keeps your energy levels steady, and helps prevent you from overeating when it comes time for the main event. In addition, eating frequent small meals can also help prevent your body from entering starvation mode in which your body stores additional calories as a defense mechanism (aka: weight gain).
3. Try to fit in some short holiday workouts.
Even if it’s only half an hour per day, a short holiday workout is better than nothing. Many people have the idea that ‘if I can’t do my full workout I won’t do anything at all.’ Maybe it’s too cold and snowy outside to go for a run or you don’t have a full-scale gym at your parents house, but this doesn’t mean that you should cut out your workouts entirely. When I travel I don’t often have the time or facilities to do the full scale work out I would do at home in New York, so I bring along my yoga mat or even a yoga towel, and spend 20 to 30 minutes doing a quick workout in my hotel room before going out each day. If you can’t lead yourself in your own yoga class, head over to YouTube. There are lots of quick yoga classes online that you can follow along with. Alternatively, you could try some Pilates or even your own calisthenics workout. These are the types of workouts that use your own body to exercise. I’m talking old-school sit ups, push-ups, squats and lunges. You’ll be amazed at how fitting in this quick 30 minute workout each day will help stem the holiday weight gain. I’m not saying you’re going to get a sixpack doing this, but you may feel healthier, more energized and less guilty when you’ve finished licking your Christmas platter. You could even make it a family affair down in the rumpus room!
4. When workouts are a no-go, try some family fun!
If you can’t (or simply don’t want to) fit in those holiday workouts, organize some fun activities for the whole family that keep you active. Simply take Fido out for that second walk or go for a neighborhood stroll to visit with your family, rather than sitting around the table. You can also plan holiday activities that keep everyone active. My family has a tradition of going skating on the frozen ponds in our hometown of Edmonton, Canada on Christmas Day. It’s fun and by the end of the skate my quads and glutes are burning!
5. Don’t forget to sleep!
During the holidays we all tend to burn the candle at both ends, but this lack of sleep is a sure fire way to gain weight. Make sure to get those 7 to 9 hours of rest each night and you’ll not only feel healthy and energized and ready to do battle with your mother-in-law, but also help reduce those levels of cortisol that rise when lack of sleep occurs thereby promoting weight gain.
6. Watch your snacking.
While I do want you to try to eat frequent small meals per day rather than three large ones, snacking is a way that we unconsciously gain weight. During the holiday season with plentiful gingerbread treats and other snacks lying about the home and office, it’s easy to forget what we’ve eaten, only to question later on why we’ve gained so much weight. Remember that if you snack, try to eat a little bit less at the next meal instead.
7. Try a natural supplement to help stem cravings.
When it comes time to the holiday season, I crave sweets like crazy. I can spend the entire summer in Europe and not want a single ice cream, but the moment I get home and the cold weather sets in, I’m starving for chocolates, candies and other sweets. So this year, I decided to try an all natural way to stem sweet cravings called Sweet Defeat. This all natural product comes in a box with 30, 60 or 90 individually packaged tablets to be dissolved on your tongue after a meal or snack. The idea is that it prevents you from craving sweets on a go-forward basis with a patented formula that binds to your sugar-craving taste buds to suppress sweet taste and to curb cravings for sweets. The tablets are mildly mint flavored and dissolve fairly quickly, yet the results are noticeable. For a girl with a major sweet tooth, I was really impressed with the way in which I didn’t crave sweets for quite a while after taking each tablet, even when there were boxes of Swiss chocolate arriving with my friends from Switzerland. As a Wall Street lawyer, who is always concerned with safety, I also love that Sweet Defeat is FDA regulated, made of five plant-based, natural ingredients, and that independent third-party studies also demonstrated that Sweet Defeat reduces consumption of and desire for high-sugar foods. So I can be both sugar craving and worry free! As always before taking any supplement, consult your doctor if pregnant, breast-feeding or under the age of 12.
The holidays come but once a year, so don’t forget to enjoy yourself!
Above all, enjoy yourself!
So there you have it. My top tips to stay trim and slim during the holidays without ruining your time! But above all, enjoy yourself. the holidays come but once a year, and with slight modifications you can keep enjoying it without ending up with a bowl full of jelly!
Wishing the very best to you and yours this holiday season!~Eileen Rhein from @lighttravelsfaster